Community land trusts (CLT) are set up and run by local people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.


Defined in law

CLTs are not a legal form in themselves (like a Company). However, CLTs are defined in law so there are certain things that a CLT must be and do:

  • A CLT must be set up to benefit a defined community. In addition there is an ‘asset lock’ which is a constitutional device that prevents the distribution of residual assets to members. The purpose of the ‘asset lock’ is to ensure that the public benefit or any retained surplus cannot be appropriated for the private benefit of members.
  • A CLT must be not-for-private-profit. This means that they can, and should, make a surplus as a community business, but that surplus must be used to benefit the community.
  • Local people living or working in the community must have the opportunity to join the CLT as members.
  • Those members control the CLT (through a board being elected from the membership).

CLTs developed in the last 20 years. All members of a Community Trust have the chance to have direct influence on decision making by becoming members of the Trust. Information on membership can be found here. All those who join and take an interest generate involvement, cohesion and allow access to a number of skills that can be used for the benefit of the Trust. There are more than 250 CLTs in the UK with more than 17,000 members. The nearest to us in Emsworth is Westbourne Community Trust.

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